What is a God who groans in travail?
What is God?
First, it is understood that when we want to know someone, we must walk with that person for a time, seeing into their heart. I have learned well as a teacher over many years that outward appearance does not indicate who the person is inside. Some of my best and favourite of students wore the outward shell of Gothic.
Thus God has two parts, that which He is outwardly, and that which He is inwardly, His heart. Those who know God outwardly see a different Person entirely from those who know God by heart.
Many of those who know God outwardly use definitions of God from the Old Testament as the center and core of who and what He is. Then they tack onto that “core essence of God” the elements describing God in the New Testament as outward attachments onto that Old Testament “God.”
In complete contrast, we first know God through the writings of Paul and John – minus most of Revelation as it is carnally understood. Then, out from that description of God in His core Essence and Person, we draw in all outward things by which God is described. In doing so, we see that those outward things are ENTIRELY different from what we once thought.
Let's bring in several statements from the New Testament by which to begin talking about God.
I pray. . . that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.
He that has seen Me has seen the Father. – I am meek and lowly of heart.
We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.
God is love. – The Almighty – Unrestricted power exercising absolute dominion.
Whatever is not of faith is sin. – God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered.
Now, let us follow the “Poirot” principle of solving any mystery. Agatha Christy's Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot always looked for the oddest, most out-of-place clue as the path to solving the question. He did that while the officials followed only the obvious clues to a dead-end. Once he had found the answer to this silly little thing that everyone else ignored, he found the answer to the mystery – and it was always quite different from what all others had imagined.
Poirot always put himself into the mind of the perpetrator in order to comprehend motive. Thus I place God's purpose verse as the most important in the Bible. What is God's motive?
Two motives are presented that God might possess. The generally believed motive is Self-protection, that God, far away because of the sin of His creatures, inspects each one and allows into Himself at a future date only those who meet some sort of standard. That standard can be works or grace; God's motive remains the same.
There are many Bible verses, Old Testament and New, that seem to support that motive, but only when certain key verses at the heart of the gospel are violently ignored, especially Romans 8:29 and it's companions.
Now, of all the statements about God in the Bible, which one is the very oddest? – The last one on my list.
What is a God who groans in travail? What possible motive is there for such a clue?
Let me suggest to you that the only way anyone will ever solve the mystery of God is to find the answer, in real and practical experience, to that question. What is a God who groans in travail?
But here is our predicament. This question of travail is God as Spirit, and we will never know God if we seek to define the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God stays in the background; when we try to look at Him/Her, all we see is a bony finger pointing us straight to Jesus. The Spirit does not speak of Himself.
But if the God we “know” does not groan in travail in His core and essence in our knowledge of Him, even in our knowledge of the One who fills us with all of Himself, then we do not know God.
Yet we will never arrive at knowing the Spirit, knowing a God who groans in travail, without first obeying the Spirit by looking first to Jesus, and then, in obedience to Paul's gospel, out from Jesus' eyes.
Thus the first question of knowing God is – What is Jesus? Followed by – What is Christ?
Then we must continue on to – What is the Father?
Amazingly, we must pass through – What is Science? And – What is Light/Electricity? And – What is Word/Sound? And even – What is Poetry? Before we can arrive at – What is Spirit?
But here is the confusing thing about knowing God. We will never know Him apart from Jesus' words: The words that I speak to you are Spirit and they are Life.
It is only the Spirit who shows us all these things. Thus we cannot know God unless we first know Him by Spirit. And we cannot know God unless we first know Him as our very and only Life, filling us full with ALL of Himself.
It all begins with travail. And the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.
No word God could ever speak, no light, no power could ever bring forth anything except it first enters into the travail of God. Only a woman can bring forth life.
What is a God who groans in travail? What is His motive?
I testify to you that, coming out of this Tabernacles season, 2013, the only thing consuming the passion of my being, my mind, my heart, my soul, and all the depths of my spirit, is this question.
What is a God who groans in travail?
And suddenly I see that all other “knowledge” of God vanishes. For there is no possible way we could ever know anything of God outwardly or even mid-wardly, or even near-centeredly, without FIRST knowing in absolute experience a God who groans in travail.
Last week was another “atheism day” in Poetry class, in which all silly Christian “beliefs” about “God” were caused to vanish by waving the magical wand of “science.” I said very little. As far as I was concerned, some of the poems we studied were little more than some person filled with hatred vomiting words, and then we gathered around those vomited words, as diviners of old gathered around chicken bones or some such scattered junk, and sought to find meaning in these meaningless words. But of course, that's what makes them so grand; don't you see how many different kinds of meaning can be found in any splattering of words? I do not mean that it was not enjoyable hearing others share out from their hearts. But I was interested in real people sharing, not the so-called “poetry.”
Okay, I have to say my spiel somewhere. But the point is this – I come away from such a reality of this world with the greatest of groanings inside. God, how can they know You? You see, I could argue the Nicene Creed at these people, and they would rightly laugh me out of the room.
No one knows God. Yet He makes so many claims. How will they know Him?
And I groan in the deepest travail.
A dear sister wrote to me in the greatest of distress. She has been hit so hard in so many different directions, including a little grandson who has horrific cancer and just underwent brain surgery.
“Why don't I have the power to pray and see healing?”
God, show up!
Christians want to blame either God or us. Atheists want to say, “See there is no God. You are delusional.”
What is a God who groans in travail?
What is a God who desires with all of His heart to be known and seen, touched and handled, a God who would place His hands upon little children and BLESS them, yet who does not show Himself as He clearly says?
Is it that God cannot show Himself except through one means alone, through travail, through a woman giving birth?
What is a God who groans in travail?
Oh, please, let this question consume your heart.
Everywhere I read Christians talking about God; I see that they are clearly talking about Someone ELSE, Someone far away, far above. Everyone, including grace teachers, speaks either of how we “get to” this far-away Entity, or which mental ideas extracted from the Bible this far-way Thing, almost, favors. Yes, almost everyone I read treats God as a Thing.
Grace is NOT us going into God. Grace is God going into us.
I simply don't find people talking about the Person who fills them with all that He is. I do not find people talking about knowing this Close One who DESIRES with all desire to bring forth something He does not yet possess. That is inconceivable to everyone including me. To groan in travail is to labor to bring forth something new. What is a God who groans in travail, who labors to birth forth something not yet in creation, not yet in either heaven or earth?
I saw again a familiar statement people make about a God whom they do not know. “God never makes mistakes.” Technically, that's true. The problem is they are always talking about Someone far away. There is no far-away God. Is not one of their “ideas” that He is omnipresent? They say it, but they do not know it.
But I do make mistakes all the time. Or do I?
You see, ALL of my mistakes ARE God's mistakes, for I am His flesh. Thus, are they really mistakes? Whatever we say about God MUST be true of the God who fills us with all of His fullness. If not, they are just ideas, straight out of the tree of true and false. Is God not omnipotent? That's another of their ideas, but they do not know it. Almighty-Power-Exercising-Absolute-Dominion cannot need our help to make Himself omnipotent, to make Himself what He is.
I read someone talking about the horrific idea some “latter-rain heretics” have that God is incarnate again in them. But God says that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I thought the Holy Spirit was part of God). “Incarnate” means God in the flesh. Paul prays that we would be filled with all the fullness of God! If all of God is in me, including in my body, if I am of His flesh and of His bones, then is that not INCARNATION?
Someone said, no, we are not yet filled with all of God, not until we prove a certain level of obedience. Let me see if I have this correct. Right now, we are empty of God, that is, we are un-God-ly. But in our un-God-ly state, we must perform a certain level of transaction, maybe we must obey all voices and all verses completely without hesitation, 1,623 times in a row? Then, after, that, we will have “earned?” being filled with God? Then, after that, we will finally become godly? Being filled with God is something we purchase out from not-God?
– God comes first before there is any Godliness and before anything not godly could ever vanish away. –
I read of the idea that there cannot be “apostles” today because an apostle is one who knows the risen Christ. Hello! Does not the risen Christ Himself in Person live in my heart? And I do know Him, literally and actually. The risen Christ is my best Friend. I look in my heart and see Him all the time, every moment. We visit continually. I am a direct eye-witness of the risen Christ. He has become as real in me as any good friend I have ever known in life.
Listen, being the Incarnation of God, being an eye-witness of the risen Christ IS the NORMAL Christian life. It's what the gospel is all about! Being the Incarnation of God, being a continual eye-witness of the risen Christ, being continually commissioned by Jesus Himself as His full witness, as His sent-one (apostle), does not make us in any way “special,” it just means we are finally NORMAL humans! And rivers of living water DO flow out of us all the time. We are all apostles! Everyone of us can and should be speaking as the oracle of God, as Peter said we should, as divine Scripture.
We have finally, for the first time in our lives, become ordinary.
Every created being empty of God is weird.
A human empty of God is more than weird, he or she is the most dangerous entity in creation, far more dangerous than any fallen angel. Christians who imagine themselves empty of God create horror and call that horror “the gospel.”
A Christian who is not speaking of God as the God who fills them NOW and HERE with ALL that He is, that Christian is not speaking of God. They are speaking only of some imaginary construct in their brains, an image built by themselves using ideas as its building blocks. What horrifies them is for you and me to declare that this God they think they possess as their own invention fills us with all that He is, and we commune with Him moment-by-moment, and that He, in fact, lives as us in this world.
You see, we have dirtied their “God,” and that is “blasphemy.”
And that is exactly why they killed Jesus. In their eyes, Jesus had dirtied “God.” He had placed FLESH (the image of God) upon this “purified” image (brain imagination) they called “God.”
As Hamlet said, “Horrible. Horrible.” Don't those syllables just go all through you? Shakespeare knew the power of both sounds and words.
I am laughing. Why don't they just stop all the stupidity and get to know this Guy who loves them and who lives in them and who shows Himself through them? Why don't they just accept the Blood? Why don't they just accept the Cross? Why don't they just accept the reality that Jesus, the resurrected and ascended Christ, lives in their hearts?
The Covenant is that God gives us hearts of flesh. Jesus lives in our hearts. God Incarnate – God in meat! It's just the gospel.
What is God?
Let me say the exact same thing three different ways.
Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. – Jesus is ascended above all the heavens. – Jesus lives in my heart.
Christians have the incredible idea that these are three different “places.” They think that if Jesus is at the right hand of the Father right now, that means He is not walking the earth right now. They think that “Jesus in my heart” and “Jesus above the heavens” means some geographical distinction, two different places! At this point in my life, I find that way of thinking to be so incredibly weird. Actually, it's just plain dumb, something cooked up by people who prefer to live with their backs turned towards the glory that fills them full.
Jesus in me and Jesus at the right hand of the Father and Jesus above all the heavens ARE the SAME thing.
My heart is as much in heaven as God is (I am speaking literally, not figuratively – the “throne” John saw in Revelation 4 is figurative); my heart is His throne. Where He dwells is the center of all Holiness. The King of all is my best friend. He lives in my heart; we visit all the time. More than that, the King of heaven right now, lives as me; He is all I find myself to be. This reality is 100% literal; I am speaking of no “deeper meanings.”
I am speaking of being human, being just like Jesus, the first One of our kind.
What is God?
The Nicene Creed and Augustine say that God is Three Persons in One, and that these Three Persons are co-equal together as God. They don't know that. God never says any such thing. Three in One is a construction of human reason, a staked-out position of the human mind.
Paul said, “There is one God, the Father, and one Mediator between God and man, the Man, Christ Jesus.” God is One Person who reveals Himself through many persons.
We know Jesus by John 14:20, and that is Salvation. But we can only know God by Ephesians 3:19. Where is “filled with all the fullness of God” found in the Nicene Creed or in Augustine? The knowledge of God in Person in them is absent from all that they write.
God can only be known by Word coming through Spirit and birthing Life inside of us. If anyone “knows” something about “God” in any other way, it ain't God they know.
There is no purpose whatever in having any ideas about God. All human ideas about God CANNOT ever be God. So what do we gain by having ideas about God? We gain death, exactly as God warned Adam in the garden. The very exercise of reasoning out ideas about God IS the tree of knowledge.
Modern literary criticism states that there are three ways to approach the human in literature or poetry. One is the ideal, what humans ought to be. A second is the ridiculous, let's laugh at people. The third, they say, is man/woman as he/she is, the real. They call this “realism.” They say that all present writing, to be considered by them as “literature” must be about humans “as they are.” Thus Tolkien, even though he wrote the greatest literary work of the twentieth century, committed the cardinal sin; he wrote a fable. Fables deal with humanity as we “ought to be.” To them, a chemical reaction “ought to be” nothing other than what it is. In one sense they are correct, but not the way they think.
There is no such thing as “realism.” A book is not a human being. No author has created a living, breathing human by writing words on a page. All so-called “realism,” including biography, is as much a fiction as any fable. That is not a human person you are engaging with in the story, but the imagination of the author. If an author takes his or her character into damnation, that is neither God's “fault” nor is it “real.” The author is always the God of his or her creation; the author moves the fate of every character in the story. All authors of so-called “realism” demonstrate “intelligent” design of their fictional world.
The problem with realism is that it is lying to you. Realism is as fabulous as “fable.” The advantage of fable is that it does not pretend to be real, thus we are far more able to draw truth out from a fable than we are out of any lying “realism.” Their so-called realism only mocks and makes ridiculous both God and humanity.
All you get when you read “realism” is depressed. That's why these “literary experts” are so angry and judgmental; that's why they are drawn to the red-faced anger of Marx, the bloodiest killer in history. When I read The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, I read people who joy in the meaning of being human as expressed so ably through fable. When I read literary experts, I read people who sound like they are sitting on the toilet, trying their hardest and not succeeding. Karl Marx would scream in rage at his allies so ferociously that he would turn bright-red and then purple before collapsing from lack of breath; Lenin was almost as bad. Marx's children starved to death in his own home with him in it; his eldest daughter went mad from his abusive anger.
And this sick mind, whose followers bloodied the world over the last 100 years, is the favorite philosopher of the people who rule modern education. They just don't get that Marxists, when they seized power in every country from 1918 in Russia to 1975 in Cambodia killed all the college professors, the “intelligentsia,” first before they continued on to killing most everyone else. They killed the college professors whose teachings brought them to power before they started killing Christians. This is not a “belief” of mine, but a simple historical fact.
Okay, I'm venting my spleen again. Sorry.
My point is this. Realism is not real. Ideas in a book are not a living human being.
The Nicene Creed cannot be real; it matters not what true ideas are in it. Ideas people have about “God” cannot be a real living God in Person inside of them. All ideas push God far away.
What is God? I don't know. And neither does ANYONE else in heaven or on earth, except Jesus.
God is not yet known.
No man (or angel) has seen God, nor can see God. – He who has seen Me has seen the Father.
The question cannot be – What is God? The question MUST BE – What is a God who groans in travail?
Can we know the Heart of this Incredible Person who fills our hearts full with His deep, agonizing DESIRE to be known, to be seen, to be touched, to be handled? This God who will not rest until He has a man after His own heart, a many-membered man, many sons in glory, through whom, finally, He can be forever known.
What is a God who groans in travail?
What is a God who fills finite, tiny, bumpkin humans with ALL of His Fullness?
I have been amiss in referring to God filling us full with Himself without often bringing in the context. I did teach the context in Journey's End, but not much since. Let's look at it again.
(I pray) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
God is Love. – Rooted and grounded in love.
Here is my increasing present joy. I am filled full with Love in Person, and I, me, my heart of hearts, I live entirely inside this Love inside of me. This Love is not me, thus I am not responsible to maintain it's expression. This Love is Another Person, my Friend, my Savior. Yet this Love is also me, Love as me, thus I rest utterly in my continual envelopment deep inside this Love-One. We visit whenever I think of Him. Wherever I am, I know Love in Person is there fully in me, filling all of me, body, soul, and all the way out to wherever my spirit goes.
How many times over the years have I stood in front of the mirror, my hands pressed to my chest, tears streaming down my face, saying, “Oh Father, if it be possible, if it could somehow be, please, place Your heart right here inside of me.” – Oh, the sorrow that I could not know He already had.
Now that I know that I do, every moment and forever, fully share Heart with God, I am so content. I possess all I have ever desired.
Rooted and grounded in love.
God really likes me. He thinks highly of me; I am His special friend. He confides His deepest secrets with me. (Say this as yourself.) This God, who likes me best, is always filling me full in Person. This God, filling me full in Person, is always flowing out from me, liking everyone I meet.
People are such a delight to me; the fact that they also frustrate me makes no difference at all.
Now, why would I bring Karl Marx into the question, What is God? (That is, why would God have me fuming over Marx while I'm trying to know Him?)
I love literature; I love discussing literature. I love seeing all the foibles of the human inside literature. I understand and abhor injustice. I see clearly how awful it has been for women in the past, being forced to live in a straight-jacket denial of all that they were as intelligent, creative persons. I am so glad my wife is my equal in every way; I would never want to see a return to that cursed way of thinking about “the woman.”
That is not what I feel and see in this “graduate level” approach to literature. I've never come across, personally, such a spirit in discussing literature before – mainly because I would have bounced off it immediately in the past. Now, I must keep my nose in it.
I read somewhere that Marx “really respected people.” What kind of delusional vomit do these people live in?
Marx's answer to the evil of the ruling class was to be more evil than they. Marx's answer to injustice was to be far more unjust. Marx's answer to lying was to lie even more. This is the thinking, the spirit, of all who drink his opiates. Thus, what bothers me – just bothers me – is not the course asking me to consider injustice, but the course asking me to respond to injustice with greater injustice.
The course wants me to disrespect people, to despise them, to excel at pointing out how despicable all but the chosen “honored victims” really are. The course asks the students to engage in a ritualistic Orwellian “three-minute-hate.” Here's the target. Okay novices, everyone together, Hate – Hate – Hate. There, don't we all feel cleansed – empowered? I dared to point out the falseness of the “chosen honored victim” in one discussion, and oh the response I drew. (I won't read the responses, that way I can still laugh.) But that is what the course asks, to tear down anyone who dares to blaspheme.
This is a religious cult, not a college course. I've never encountered such a thing before. (Of course, most of my college experience was in Christian schools where they taught mostly the subject.)
When the Marxists took power in Russia, after they had killed all the college professors, they drove around in trucks with machine guns in the back gunning down any farmer who had committed the crime of using hired help on his farm. Tens of thousands of decent, hard-working responsible men were slaughtered by these who, like Marx, so “respected people.”
Love – Hate.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I marvel as I see in me, more and more, such a delight for people, for each individual person in all their peculiarities, in all their gifts and weaknesses. To delight in their hearts. My students are in my class because they did not pass an entrance writing test; they're not the most mentally gifted students in the school. So what. They have plenty of other gifts, many of which surpass those who are “more intellectual.”
I delight in each one of them. Certainly some are more challenging than others, but my love is God, and He is pretty big. God is in my classroom with me, in me, flowing out from me. God.
So-called “realism” finds the worst people, the ones at the bottom, the compromisers, the sell-outers, the despicable, the psychopaths, the coy and deceitful, and presents them as a “case study” of the human race. They never discover the good men and women who hold true in adversity, who love at whatever cost. If they come across such people, they denigrate them – you're just fake. The lowest defines all to them.
They do not see Love arising from beneath the lowest of the low.
Realism is Marxism in literary garb; it is utter disrespect of people. It claims to show people “as they are.” Although it does use facts as its weapons, it always leaves in its readers a pervasive spirit of scorn. Realism discovers that none are righteous, no not one, and then mocks and revels in human unrighteousness.
What is a God who groans in travail?
To most, “bringing many sons to glory” just means God taking a bunch of losers to heaven even though we all should be cast into hell.
Grace to them is our chance to be happy; they have no thought about God groaning in travail to bring forth.
What if God is so different from what they think? What if God CANNOT do everything? What if God cannot sin? What if God cannot violate faith? What if God MUST treat every individual person with utmost respect? What if God is Love?
What if God wants something He does not yet possess?
What if God groans in travail to bring forth from His own being something so HOLY, something so beyond all, and birth that very HEART of His Heart through His image, you and me?
What if God longs to be known – to touch and to be touched. What if we are God's body – God Incarnate?
What kind of a God is that?
And where is such a God found in the Nicene Creed or in Augustine's cold intellect?
Is God the Father in me as He is in you? Yes.
Is Christ Jesus, the Son, in me as He is in you? Yes.
Is the Holy Spirit in me as He is in you? Yes.
Am I confused as to which One I am visiting with? Yes.
Do I try to explain God as “The Trinity”? NO! I never kill myself.
Is God the Father most of what I am? Yes.
Does Christ Jesus, the Son, live as me – am I just like Him in all ways? Yes.
Is the Holy Spirit flowing out from me in all directions at all times? Yes.
Am I God Incarnate? Yes.
Am I utterly weak and silent before Him? Yes.
Am I a normal human being, living the normal Christian life? Yes.
Do I try to rationalize any of this to myself or to others? NEVER. I do not disobey God's command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I am content to believe what God says.
God speaks His Word into me by the Spirit. I receive that Word into my Faith (Jesus as me) by that same Spirit. That Word reproduces itself inside of me as my only Life as I speak it with my mouth.
God fills me full with All of Himself.
What is a God who groans in travail?
What is a God who longs to be touched, to be seen, to visit happily with His dearest friends, to touch little children and to bless them?
What is a God who pays every price, casts all of Himself into loss, bears all, weeps with all, carries all, so that He might know His dream?
What is a God who longs to be known?
What is a God who shares heart with me?